Barbra Streisand Released a Song With Kermit the Frog Over 40 Years After She Recorded It
In 2021, Barbra Streisand issued Release Me 2, an album of songs she recorded years prior. One of the songs on the album is a duet with Kermit the Frog she recorded for her son, Jason Gould. During an interview, Streisand revealed why it took her so long to put this song on an album.
Barbra Streisand became the first person to cover 1 of the Muppet’s most famous songs
The 1970s were an important time for both Streisand and the Muppets. During the decade, Streisand released some of her most famous songs, including “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” “The Way We Were,” and “You Don’t Buy Me Flowers.” Around the same time, The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie premiered.
The Muppet Movie introduced Kermit the Frog’s signature ballad: “Rainbow Connection.” According to Entertainment Weekly, Streisand was the first person to cover “Rainbow Connection.” She initially intended to use her cover on her 1979 album Wet; however, the final version of Wet didn’t include “Rainbow Connection” because there wasn’t enough room for it.
Why no one heard the song for decades
During an interview Streisand did with Entertainment Weekly’s Maureen Lee Lenker, Lenker mentioned loving the Muppets. “So did my son, because that’s why I did the song,” Streisand replied. “It was so long ago. What year was that? He was a little boy. He loved Sesame Street and he loved the Muppets. So I recorded it for him. It’s a charming song.”
Streisand revealed she forgot about her cover of “Rainbow Connection” shortly after recording it. “When I finish a record, it goes out of my brain,” she said. “I never listen to it again unless I have to revisit something. I do not play my own records and I don’t run my own films.”
Barbra Streisand’s cover of ‘Rainbow Connection’ splices together 2 versions of the song
Streisand revealed why she released an album of older material that hadn’t been available for purchase. “I couldn’t do a new album of songs, which I was starting to collect when the quarantine happened,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I can’t meet with producers and use the studios and the engineers and all the people I have to work with, musicians and so forth. So that’s when we said, ‘Well, let’s put out Release Me 2.’ Because I have a lot of stuff in my vault.”
Streisand told the BBC her co-producer, Jay Landers, found her recording of “Rainbow Connection” in a vault. Landers noted Streisand recorded songs with legendary singers like Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, and Andrea Bocelli, but she’d never released a duet with a frog.
After Landers said that, Streisand loved the idea of releasing “Rainbow Connection.” According to Entertainment Weekly, Streisand’s version of “Rainbow Connection” splices together her vocals and with Jim Henson’s from the original recording where he was in character as Kermit the Frog. While Streisand recorded “Rainbow Connection” to please her son, now fans across the world can finally enjoy her cover.